We are asking for all legislators in Louisiana to convene a special session to address the drastic budget cuts levied at the LSU Health Sciences Center hospital system, especially W.O. Moss Hospital in Lake Charles and Lallie Kemp Hospital in Independence, and the closure of Southeast Louisiana Hospital in Mandeville.
Southeast Louisiana Hospital is a crucial public psychiatric institution that serves over 500 clients annually, many with serious, persistent mental illness. It has 176 inpatient beds and provides over 563 jobs for St. Tammany Parish. Over 50% of clients served come from the greater New Orleans area and the Florida parishes. Governor Jindal has decided to close it and relocate beds to other facilities far from this area, for very little cost savings. Patients deserve to get effective treatment in their own communities so that their families may remain involved in the recovery process. Southeast is also a premier training institution for Tulane medical students and Tulane psychiatry residents as well as nursing students from 10 local nursing schools, occupational therapy students, social work interns, and registered dietician students; its closure will be a huge loss for the education of future healthcare workers for this state. Southeast was called a “pocket of excellence” in a 2009 Joint Commission survey.
Louisiana State University operates eight hospitals, which are managed by the Health Care Services Division. Combined, the LSU facilities admit 50,000 patients annually, and they provide nearly 1.2 million outpatient visits, around 70 percent of which are clinic visits. Mission-driven to care for the uninsured and provide training opportunities for future health professionals, LSU HCSD is a statewide safety net system in which everyone is eligible for care. LSU hospitals, in providing the majority of care to the uninsured patients in the state, support other community facilities by protecting them from a greater share of uncompensated care. Lallie Kemp and W.O. Moss are part of the LSU Hospital system.
Lallie Kemp is a regional medical center that provides 406 jobs and serves a rural community with critical clinical services such as infectious diseases, ophthalmology and oncology that are hard to otherwise access. In 2010 Lallie Kemp provided 4,352 adult/pediatric inpatient days; 77,141 outpatient encounters; 25,044 emergency dept. encounters; 41,698 outpatient clinic visits.
W.O. Moss serves the southwest portion of the state and has 410 positions. In 2008 W.O. Moss provided 4,332 adult/pediatric inpatient days (including ICU); 4,443 psychiatric inpatient days; 77,516 outpatient encounters; 23,825 ED encounters; 44,457 outpatient clinic visits.
Please call for a special session now, before it is too late for our state.
Janet B. Bradley, M.D.